Thursday, May 16, 2013

Analysis of "Editing Job" by Carl Dennis

Original poem reprinted online here: "Editing Job" by Carl Dennis
Originally read: February 12, 2013
More information about the Poet: Carl Dennis

From the title, the poem works a great deal with humor and puns.  This poem sets up a sense of wit to it in multiple levels: language, irony, perspective.  I think I'll start from back to front on this one. 

Past me wrote this about the perspective, "Editor takes on a 'god-like' voice over biblical text, further into the poem the speaker becomes more vested in the text."  Furthermore, the tone of the poem is quite humorous when the speaker initially takes on the God voice, On top of this, I would like to add that further  into the poem the character of God has less and less emotional attachment to Job and just "replenishes Job possessions."  Until finally at the end the speaker turns the humor into cynicism.

The irony in the poem is what past me wrote about at the end of the poem, "The end is interesting because there's an added 'passage' humanistic quality to 'god,' but I feel the poem over over extends itself here trying to accentuate a point."  Rereading the poem, yeah, that extra "passage" does accentuate a point but the added irony to the poem is that the speaker is being overly didactic in some ways with lines like, "In the hearts of all who believe / that suffering shouldn't be silent."  But there's a reason behind what's the speaker writes; meanwhile, the God created just goes on an "irrelevant, angry tirade."  God acts more human, the speaker acts more god-like.

And this poem is about language, not like denotation or connotation behind individual words rather how to insert multiple meanings within a single word to turn the poem.  As I pointed out in the beginning, Job represents the biblical passage and also work -- and the speaker does do work and edit the passage -- manipulates like God manipulates Job to get more meanings.

This change in language is somewhat innocuous like in stanza 3, "The issue is justice.  Is our hero / Impertinent for expecting his god / To practice justice as well as preach it." Here the idea of justice is repeated within the stanza and the definition is explained from the general to the personal -- how the word relates to Job, God, the situation etc.

However, also note that god is lower cased in this stanza and only here in the poem.  How "justice" doesn't relate to big G god (concept) but little G god (individual).

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